This extensive property lay on the E. side of Bow Lane between 104/21-2 on the S. and 104/24 on the N. It extended E. as far as 145/1 in the parish of St. Pancras, and at that end also adjoined a property in the parish of St. Antonin to the S. of 145/1. From at least as early as the 14th century onwards there was a gate at the E. end of the property giving access to an alley or lane (now represented by the E. end of Well Court) which led into Soper Lane. On the N. side at its E. end the property adjoined 104/34 in Cheapside. During the later Middle Ages 104/32 and 104/33, both in Cheapside, adjoined 104/23 on the N., a relationship which was established when those properties absorbed parts of the eastern end of 104/24.
Overall 104/23 occupied a site which measured about 175 ft. (53.3 m.) E./W. by 75 ft. (22.86 m.) N./S. on the Bow Lane frontage with a greater N./S. width further back. In the 13th and 14th centuries there appear to have been 2, 3, or sometimes more separate units of occupation along the frontage, although it is not clear how the rear part of the property was divided. The documentary evidence certainly indicates that one or more of the units was a substantial residence. In the 15th and early 16th centuries there were 4 units of occupation along the street frontage (A-D), and the arrangement of the property may have been essentially the same in the earlier period. The southernmost of these units (A) appears to have extended for the full depth of the property, and probably occupied just over half the area behind the houses on the Bow Lane frontage. The middle one of the other three on the frontage (B) appears to have included the remaining part of the rear of the property. It was probably to provide access from Bow Lane to this part of the property that there developed the alley now represented by the western part of Well Court. This part of the alley is not recorded until the mid 16th century, presumably because until then it had an essentially private function.
On the Bow Lane frontage the property corresponded to nos. 44-8 and part of no. 49 Bow Lane in 1858.
Twelfth to fourteenth century
From at least as early as the late 12th century onwards the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, had rents totalling £2. 10s. from the N. part of the property. In the late 12th and in the 13th century this was due as a rent of 11s. from one land and as a rent of £1. 19s. from another land adjacent to the N., which itself adjoined 24 to the N. The possible arrangement of the property during the 13th century is shown in Fig. 7.
The land to the S. of those from which the rent to the priory was due, and therefore presumably representing the southernmost part of 23 (perhaps part of 23A) was said c. 1220 to belong to William son of Isabel and shortly afterwards to Andrew Trentemars. (fn. 1)
In the late 12th century William Pimunt owed the 11s. rent to the priory in equal portions at the feasts of the Purification of the Virgin Mary and of St. Peter ad vincula. About 1220 William's heirs owed the rent in equal portions at Easter and Michaelmas for land (possibly 23C and part of 23A behind) in corueiseria. At about this time Agnes daughter of William Pimunt, the brother of Stephen Blund, granted to Richard le Prestre, draper, all the land with houses and shops in Corveysterstrate in the parish of St. Mary le Bow. Agnes reserved to herself and her heirs a rent of £2, out of which Richard and his heirs and assigns were to pay 11s. to the lords of the fee. Should Agnes or her heirs sell the £2 rent, Richard and his successors were to be favoured by a gold bezant against all others. Richard gave 13s. 4d. for the grant. (fn. 2)
In the late 12th century John son of Baldwin owed £1. 19s. rent to Canterbury Cathedral Priory for the most northerly part of the property (perhaps 23D and 23B) at the feasts of the Purification and St. Peter ad vincula. About 1220 this rent was due at Easter and Michaelmas from St. Bartholomew's Priory for land which had belonged to John son of Baldwin, to which pertained a house in St. Mary le Bow churchyard and four shops directly opposite on the W. side of Bow Lane (see 104/1). These other properties were perhaps mentioned in the rental because John or his predecessors had bound them for distraint should the rent from 104/23 fall into arrears. Towards the middle of the 13th century the property from which the £1. 19s. rent was due was described as the house of Thomas Lambert (he also held the S. part of 24 q.v.). In 1250-1 it was probably the messuage of Richard de Wrotham, who had ceased to hold it by 1269-70. (fn. 3)
Richard le Prestre's property, which may have been the most substantial part of 23 and was perhaps approximately equivalent to those parts later identifiable as 23C with part of 23A behind, passed to his son William, who was generally known as William son of Richard. (fn. 4) William appears to have gained possession of the whole of 23. By a deed enrolled in 1269 for William's son and heir, John Trentemars, goldsmith, and his wife Rose, daughter of Geoffrey Trentemars, quitclaimed to William in 6s. of a quit-rent of £1. 6s. which they had formerly received from William for land and houses in the parish next to his capitale managium. For this quitclaim, which probably concerned the southernmost part of 23, formerly held by Andrew Trentemars (cf. above), William paid £3. 13s. 4d. By another deed enrolled in the same year John and Rose conveyed the remaining £1 of the rent to William, and in the enrolment the whole rent was said to be due from William's capitale managium and from the property let out (redditus) in front of it towards the street. (fn. 5) William's will was proved in 1269. He wished to be buried in the church of St. Mary le Bow, suggesting that he was a resident of the parish and almost certainly inhabited this property. He left his wife Avicia £10 rent from his properties in London. To his son Thomas he left the capitale managium and 2 houses in the parish of St. Mary Aldermary, which may have been near by. This capital messuage probably extended over a substantial part of the area of 23 (i.e. most of 23A-B), and the gate at the E. end of the property was later said to have belonged to William. To his daughter Margery William left the messuage in the parish of St. Mary le Bow which he had purchased from Geoffrey de West[melne?] together with its shops and cellars. This messuage probably represented the northernmost part of 23 (?23D and 23B) which had once belonged to John son of Baldwin (cf. above). It was presumably adjacent to the capitale managium (the rear parts of 23A-B), to which William had appropriated a cellarium ad vousoura which had once been part of the messuage (?23D) left to his daughter. This cellar was probably below a part of the structure of the messuage and the rights of the holder of the capital messuage in it would have extended upwards only so far as the crown of the vault. (fn. 6) The walls of this cellar were perhaps those revealed by excavation in 1979 on the N. corner of Well Court and Bow Lane. In the 17th century, too, this cellar seems to have been occupied separately from the house above it (see 24).
Geoffrey may have retained an interest in the messuage which had once belonged to him, perhaps as a life tenant. William's daughter Margery married Robert de Westmelne, citizen and pepperer, who was probably a relative (? son) of Geoffrey, and by 1280 William's son Thomas quitclaimed to Robert for the term of Robert's life in the messuage (23D and B), which was bounded by the street on the W., 104/24 on the N., 145/1 on the E., and the tenement of Thomas's mother Avicia on the S. Robert held this tenement in 1281, but had ceased to do so by 1294. (fn. 7) Avicia's tenement (23A) was presumably the capital messuage of her former husband, William son of Richard, or a part of it.
Thomas's tenure of the capital messuage had probably ceased by 1299, when by his testament proved in that year John Sayer left to Idonea daughter of John de Armenters 14s. 4d. quit-rent from the former tenement of Thomas son of Richard in Cordewanerstrete. (fn. 8) The whole of 23 then appears to have come into the possession of Avicia, daughter of William son of Richard, who according to her father's will had become a nun at Haliwell. She was probably the Avicia fitzRichard who in 1314 had a tenement in Watling Street and probably in the parish of St. Mary Aldermary on the E. side of 104/21-2 (q.v.) By this date, however, Avicia daughter of William son of Richard had conveyed 23 to Matthew de Essex, citizen and apothecary, whose tenement adjoined 104/21-2 on its N. and E. sides. Matthew held the whole of 23, for his tenement also adjoined 104/34, and he paid the £2. 10s. rent due to Canterbury Cathedral Priory. The rent fell into arrears during the 1320s and at Matthew's death £12. 10s. was due. (fn. 9) By his will, proved in 1325, Matthew left the tenements here, of which he said he had been enfeoffed by Avicia daughter of William son of Richard, to his wife Margaret for life with remainder to his brother John de Essex, apothecary. He left £3. 6s. 8d. quit-rent from the property in support of a chantry chaplain in the church of St. Mary le Bow for the benefit of himself, his parents, and his former wife Rose. No licence was obtained for this alienation and the rent was seized on behalf of the Crown; the gift was allowed to stand, however, presumably because the seizure had been wrongly made. There was evidently some uncertainty over Matthew's standing in the property and at the probate of his will Avicia daughter of William son of Richard put forward a claim. In 1327 Avicia claimed the property, now described as two messuages and four shops, against Matthew de Essex's wife Margaret and her new husband Geoffrey de la Lee. Avicia was claiming the property against both Margaret and John de Essex in 1330, when it was announced that John had recently died; the suit continued into 1332 when a jury considered that Avicia should recover seisin against Margaret and Matthew son of John de Essex. (fn. 10)
Avicia was certainly in possession of the whole of 23 by February 1332, when she granted to Henry Darci, citizen and draper (pannarius) the tenements here with free entry and exit both to Cordewanerstret and to a lane called Wendayeneslane which led to Sopereslane. The property was bounded by 104/24, 32, and 34 on the N. and by 21-2 and another tenement (probably in Watling Street in St. Mary Aldermary parish) on the S. In March Avicia quitclaimed to Darci, who immediately granted and then quitclaimed in the property to Richard Feuerer of Elsing (Norfolk), citizen and mercer. (fn. 11) By his will, dated 15 March (after Darci's grant, but before his quitclaim) and proved in July 1332 Richard de Elsinge directed his executors to sell the tenements favouring his brother, William de Elsinge, or, if William was dead, the priests of Elsing Spital, by the sum of £60. In 1333 the executors sold the property to William, who in 1334, having obtained royal licence, granted it to Elsing Spital in support of a priest celebrating for the souls of William de Carleton and Master Thomas de Kynyngham, whose executors had paid William a sum of money. According to the terms of Richard de Elsinge's will, the property was to support a priest for 10 years celebrating for the souls of Richard and his family. In the grant of 1334 23 was described as two messuages, which were perhaps equivalent to the capital messuage of the later 13th century and the other messuage on the N. side of it. (fn. 12)
The purpose of the transactions made in 1332-4, and perhaps also of any earlier transactions between John de Essex and Avicia, was probably to secure an undisputed title for the Elsing Spital, free of any claim from the heirs of William son of Richard and Matthew de Essex. Even so, further transactions were undertaken in order to secure the title. In 1338 John de Essex's son, John de Essex, quitclaimed in it to William de Elsyngg. In 1339 a royal licence was obtained for William to alienate the two messuages to the hospital and this was confirmed in 1343, following the conversion of the hospital to the Augustinian rule. In 1345 John son of Idonea, daughter of John Armenters quitclaimed to William in the 14s. 4d. rent which he had from the property. Finally, William de Elsyngg by his testament, dated and proved in 1349, left the 2 tenements to Elsing Spital. (fn. 13)
For much of the second half of the 14th century Elsing Spital let 23 as two tenements which perhaps corresponded approximately to 23A and 23B as they can be identified from the 16th century onwards. It is possible that each of the two tenants sublet parts of the property on the Bow Lane frontage, for early in the 15th century the hospital was letting the property to four tenants. The N. part of 23 (approximately 23B), extending back as far as 145/1 on the E., was a tenement inhabited by William de Essex, draper, who paid the £2. 10s. rent to Canterbury Cathedral Priory from at least as early as 1353 onwards, held the tenement in 1383, perhaps still held in 1386-7, but had ceased to do so by 1389. (fn. 14) The S. part of 23 (approximately 23A) was probably the tenement in the parish of St. Mary le Bow between Sopereslane and Cordwanerstrete where Ralph de Coventr', tawyer (allutarius) dwelled before 1351, when the prior and convent of Elsing Spital let the tenement together with a shop and a solar over it on the N. side of the gate of the tenement to John de Kelyngworth, citizen and draper, and his wife Alice for the term of their lives, and to their heirs or executors for two years after the death of the survivor. The tenants were to repair the property at their own cost and pay a rent of £5. 6s. 8d. By his will, dated 1355 and proved in 1357, John de Kyllyngworth left 3s. 4d. each to 3 widows, who may have been his tenants, dwelling next to his gate in Soper Lane. Adam Stable, mercer, was a later occupant of this tenement. He was dwelling there as tenant of Elsing Spital c. 1380 and probably held the tenement in 1366 when the prior of Elsing Spital brought a plea of intrusion against him concerning a tenement in this parish. In 1394, when Adam had been dead for 10 years, the gate at the Soper Lane end of the property was said once to have been his. (fn. 15) Adam also owned a property next to and on the E. side of the gate (see 145/1B), which he may have used as part of his establishment.
A case in 1387 probably concerns a part of 23. The prior of Elsing Spital complained that he had let a tenement with solars in St. Mary le Bow parish for a year to John Bradlee and his servant Janyn, who had removed several softwood fittings and partitions, a pavement of Flanders tiles, and a quantity of Maidstone stone from the property. The tenement included a shop fitted out for the sale of drapery, a great chamber, another chamber, a parlour, and an entry (un huys) where there was a parclose. Bradlee was already in prison for another offence and the case was found against Janyn who was to clean the filth out of the house and replace the tiles. (fn. 16)
In 1403-4 Elsing Spital had a total of £20. 6s. 8d. rent from 4 tenements representing 23: Christina Gryndere paid £4. 6s. 8d. for one tenement; John Rygge, tailor, paid £1. 6s. 8d. for another; Thomas Peke, draper, paid £6. 13s. 4d. for another; and Walter Cotton, mercer, paid £8 for a fourth. Cotton's and Peke's tenements were probably those later identifiable as A and B. In 1409 a timber on the S. side of a house above (ultra) the entry towards Soper Lane of the great tenement which Cotton held of Elsing Spital was supported by a corbel in a stone wall of the property in the parish of St. Antonin, which lay on the S. side of the entry. By his will, proved in 1415, John Oxneye left the easement of this timber to Elsing Spital. (fn. 17) In the 1440s Elsing Spital and Canterbury Cathedral Priory were in dispute over the £2. 10s. rent due to the latter. Arbitrators settled the matter in the priory's favour in 1445, when it was found that the rent was due from two messuages of Elsing Spital lying between 24 on the N., Soper Lane on the E., and another tenement of Elsing Spital in which Thomas Stele, mercer, dwelled (probably 23A or a part of it) on the S. The two messuages from which the rent was due (probably later identifiable as 23B-D, were inhabited by John Parker, Cristina Grynder, and Geoffrey Boleyn. Following this settlement the rent was paid regularly until 1536, when Elsing Spital was dissolved. After that date the rent ought to have been paid by the Crown, but was not and by c. 1550 the officials at Canterbury regarded it as 'decayed.' (fn. 18)
In 1448 Elsing Spital had a total of £17. 13s. 4d. rent from 5 tenants at 23 in Hosierlane: Thomas Style, evidently identical with Thomas Stele in 1445, paid £6. 13s. 4d. rent, probably for the tenement later identifiable as A; Geoffrey Boleyn paid £6. 13s. 4d. rent, probably for the tenement later identifiable as B; Thomas Cursom paid £1. 13s. 4d. rent, probably for a tenement occupying part of the site later identifiable as C; and John Boyles and Margaret Grynder each paid £1. 6s. 8d. rent, perhaps for the parts of 23 held three years earlier by John Parker and Cristina Grynder (cf. above). (fn. 19) The last two holdings may have represented 23D and part of 23C.
In the 15th century there appears to have been an adjustment of boundaries between 23 and 24, as a result of which Elsing Spital paid a quit-rent to the Minoresses, landlords of 24. This arrangement probably arose from 3 complaints of intrusion made by the former against the latter in 1418, 1422, and 1430. By 1487-8 Elsing Spital was paying a rent of 2s. 6 1/2d. The Minoresses paid a quit-rent to Elsing Spital. The rents lapsed when the two houses were dissolved. (fn. 20)
John Stokton, a wealthy mercer, probably lived in a part of this property (probably 23A or 23B) c. 1470. By his will, dated 1471 and proved in 1473, he left to his wife Elizabeth the tenement where he lived in St. Mary le Bow parish which he held for a term of 30 years from Elsing Spital. (fn. 21)
Sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
During the early 16th century 23 was let in 4 parts, identified here as A-D (cf. Fig. 8). These properties passed to the Crown in 1536, when Elsing Spital was dissolved, and were sold soon afterwards. B, C, and D then came into the same ownership as 24 and 26-8. 23A was acquired by another landlord.
For a short period during the 16th century an additional quit-rent of £1. 6s. 8d. was charged on the whole of 23. This was intended to contribute towards the cost of an obit of William Browne, mercer, celebrated in the church of St. Mary Aldermanbury. Brown's son, William Browne, mercer, and his executor, Thomas Hynde, mercer, who was tenant of part of 23, caused certain lands in Essex to be conveyed by Waltham Abbey to Elsing Spital for this purpose. Subsequently, in 1520, Elsing Spital agreed with the Mercers' Company that the hospital should convey a rent of £1. 6s. 8d. due out of 23 to Richard Feldyng, who was then to bequeath it to the hospital in order to increase the endowment of the obit. After the dissolution of Elsing Spital the rent was supposed to be received by the Mercers' Company, but nothing seems actually to have been paid and the liability ceased when the chantries were dissolved in 1547. Elsing Spital also made an annual payment of £1. 2s. for the anniversary of Thomas Hynde celebrated in the church of St. Mary le Bow, but this seems to have been charged on its estate as a whole. (fn. 22)
In 1506 this property, or the S. part of it, was a tenement of Elsing Spital where Roger Grene, mercer, had formerly dwelled. In 1515 Thomas Baldry took a lease of the property for a term of 36 years at £8. 6s. 8d. rent and in 1525-6, as Sir Thomas Baldry, knight, he still held it. There were two tenements there in 1535-6, when Richard Jerveys, citizen and mercer, held under the same lease. (fn. 23) In 1537 the Crown granted the property in fee, together with 23C, and other former tenements of Elsing Spital to William Smyth, of London, gentleman. At this time one of the two messuages was held by Jerveys and the other was probably held by William Croks, tallow chandler. In 1538 Smyth obtained a royal licence to alienate 23A to Jerveys and his heirs by a fine, and then with his wife Colicia quitclaimed in it to Jerveys, his wife Winifred, and their heirs and assigns. In the quitclaim the property was described as a capital messuage with cellar(s) and solar(s) where Jerveys dwelled in 'Hosyerlane alias Bowlane' together with a little tenement on the N. side of the gate of the capital messuage, where Walter Campyon, grocer, dwelled. In 1540 Christopher Campyon probably held the little tenement. Richard Jerveys died in 1555-7, leaving the capital messuage and his lands in Wiltshire to his wife Winifred for life with successive remainders to his younger son Richard Jerveys and his heirs, then to Winifred's son John Statham and his heirs, and then to Anne, daughter of John Cooke and his wife Joan, who was the testator's sister. (fn. 24)
23A may subsequently have come into the possession of Sir Thomas White, alderman, who certainly held property to the S. on lease (cf. 21-2). In 1558 there was a variance between White and Peter Barker, citizen and scrivener, who was probably at that time tenant of 23D (q.v.) and may also have held a part of 23A (see below). Barker claimed that he had the right to use a watercourse issuing out of his yard into and through an entry and yard belonging to White and held by Henry Adams, clothworker, and that he had a half-share in a well on the boundary between the properties, which were separated by brick walls. Viewers found in Barker's favour. (fn. 25) The yard which he held from White may have been to the rear of 23C (which a namesake and probable relative of his had held earlier, cf. below) and due S. of 23D. The entry probably corresponded to a part of the alley now represented by the western part of Well Court.
White was seised of 5 messuages, a warehouse, two shops, and some minor structures in Bow Lane in the parish of St. Mary le Bow. They probably represented 23A, which in the 17th century accommodated at least that many houses within its boundaries. According to an inquisition of 1568 they had a total rental value of £22. 9s. 8d. and were held in 4 groups by 5 tenants as follows: 2 messuages, 2 shops, and another house held by Peter Baker, scrivener, and worth £5. 9s. 8d.; a messuage held by Thomas Fox, merchant tailor, and worth £4; a messuage held by Henry Adams, fuller (presumably identical with Henry Adams, clothworker), and worth £5. 10s.; a messuage formerly held by Alexander Pell, merchant tailor, now held by Adams and worth £5. 10s.; and a warehouse with a room and an easement adjoining formerly held by William Langher, merchant tailor, now held by Pell, and worth £2. In 1558 White had granted these and other properties in London to feoffees for the use, during her life, of his wife Joan, widow of Sir Ralph Warren, whom he married in that year. White died in 1567 and by his will drawn up in 1566 left the properties to his wife Joan for life with remainder to his heirs. (fn. 26)
In or before 1618 the messuage once held by Henry Adams, through which the watercourse out of 23D flowed, was held by Thomas Munck. (fn. 27)
The descent of White's property after the death of his widow is uncertain, but it seems probable that 23A and some of White's other holdings in the vicinity descended intact to Robert Pemberton, who before 1650 dwelled in a great messuage there. In 1650 Robert's son, Roger Pemberton of Lincolns Inn, and Roger's wife Anne granted a messuage representing a part of the great messuage once inhabited by Robert Pemberton to Isaac Vivian of London, merchant, in return for a payment of £168. This part of the great messuage lay in Well Yard in the parish of St. Mary le Bow and was described as a messuage with cellars, solars, kitchen, warehouse, chambers, rooms, ways, and watercourses then in the tenure of Isaac Vivian or Anne Morton, widow. Isaac Vivian still lived in Well Yard in 1666, when he inhabited a house of 8 hearths. Anne Morton was probably identical with the Widow Morden who in 1638 paid tithe for a house in this vicinity with a rental value assessed at £5. The messuage conveyed in 1650 contained 4 separate parts adjoining Well Yard, each described in detail, and their approximate positions are indicated on Fig. 9. The first of the 4 parts (a on Fig. 9) on the S. side of the common yard (i.e. Well Yard) was a yard measuring 18 ft. (5.49 m.) on the E., 14 ft. 10 in. (4.52 m.) on the N., 13 ft. 4 in. (1.32 m.) on the W., and 10 ft. 2 in. (3.1 m.) on the S. The second part (b on Fig. 9) on the other side of Well Yard (presumably the N. side) was a structure of 3 1/2 storeys over a cellar and may have been the part of the property inhabited by Vivian. The cellar, which perhaps had thick walls and was measured internally, measured 30 ft. 1 in. (9.17 m.) E./W. and 15 ft. 1 in. (4.6 m.) N./S., while each floor of the upper structure measured 33 ft. 7 in. (10.24 m.) E./W. by 20 ft. (6.1 m.) N./S. Over the cellar were a hall and warehouse, over them a dining room and a lodging chamber, over them two chambers, and over them two garrets. With this structure went the use of a vault (presumably a cess pit) under the adjacent dwelling house of Daniel Farbacks, merchant, who in 1648 had leased to Vivian a 'sloape' which allowed light to enter the dining room and chamber. Farbacks held another part of 23A which adjoined the E. side of 22. He was probably identical with the Mr. Farbach who in 1638 paid tithe for a house near here, the rental value of which was assessed at £20; in 1666 he was named as Daniel Fairfax, merchant, and occupied a house of 9 hearths. The third part of the messuage conveyed in 1650 (c on Fig. 9) was a building on the E. side of Well Yard, where again the dimensions of the upper storeys were greater than those of the cellar beneath. The cellar measured 19 ft. (5.79 m.) N./S. and 5 ft. 11 in. (1.8 m.) E./W. With it went the use of a vault beneath, part of which extended under the next house to the E., which seems also to have belonged to Pemberton. Over the cellar was a kitchen measuring 20 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft. 6 in. (6.25 m. by 3.81 m.). Over that was a dining room measuring 18 ft. by 11 ft. 6 in. (5.49 m. by 3.51 m.), with a closet and a little pair of stairs at the N. end of it jutting over the common yard and carried on a piece of timber which lay across the yard and at its N. end was fastened to the house (? part of 23A) which Peter Husher held of Roger Pemberton. The closet and stairs measured 10 ft. (3.05 m.) N./S. and 12 ft. (3.66 m.) E./W. and at the N.E. corner accommodated the headway for the stairs belonging to another house of Roger Pemberton held by Anne Morton (probably the gatehouse, see below). On the next storey were a chamber measuring 19 ft. by 11 ft. 6 in. (5.79 m. by 3.54 m.) and at its N. end a little room measuring 12 ft. by 9 ft. 6 in. (3.66 m. by 2.9 m.). The fourth part of the messuage conveyed in 1650 (d on Fig. 9) comprised 4 rooms, two to a floor, over the great gate of Robert Pemberton's mansion house, together with the garrets and vaults belonging to them, the stairs, the room enclosed beneath the stairs, and an area of the entry itself. These rooms were held by Anne Morton. The tenant of the messuage was to be able to use the pump in Well Yard in common with the other tenants there. (fn. 28)
Robert Pemberton's mansion house probably occupied the central part of 23A. We do not know for certain when the eastern end of the property came to be as densely built up as it was in 1650, when there were at least 3 households there. The gatehouse certainly had a 13th- century ancestor in this position, and the houses of the 3 widows dwelling at the gate who benefitted under John de Kyllyngworth's will in 1357 may have occupied the sites of the 3 houses described in 1650.
In the list of tithe-payers in St. Mary le Bow parish drawn up in 1638 three can be identified with reasonable certainty as tenants of parts of 23A and the position of their names in relation to those of tenants of neighbouring properties suggests that 5 names in all are to be identified as tenants of parts of 23A. There would thus appear to have been as many houses or households on the site in 1568 as in 1638. Two of the 3 probable inhabitants, Mr. Farbach and Widow Moredon, have already been mentioned and they seem to have held a house in the middle part of the property (on the W. side of d in Fig. 9) and one of the 3 houses at the E. end (d on Fig. 9), respectively. In 1651 William Ball or his assigns occupied the house on the Bow Lane frontage, and Ball was presumably identical with the Mr. Ball who in 1638 paid tithe for a house in the neighbourhood, the rental value of which was assessed at £12; in 1666 he was named as William Ball, calendarer, and lived in a house with 4 hearths. The other 2 tithe-payers inhabiting parts of 23A in 1638 can probably be identified as Mr. Legay and Mr. Poole, each of whose houses was valued at £10, who both probably lived at the E. end of 23A. Farbach's house, valued at £20 in 1638 and with 9 hearths in 1666, was by far the most substantial of the 5 and probably represented a large part of the great messuage formerly inhabited by Robert Pemberton. (fn. 29)
The hearth tax return of 1666 lists 4 houses in Well Yard: one of 8 hearths occupied by Isaac Vivian (cf. above; perhaps b on Fig. 9); one of 7 hearths occupied by Peter Jurin, merchant; one of 6 hearths occupied by Thomas Dickenson, merchant; and one of 2 hearths occupied by Luke Morgan, packer. The house belonging to Farback or Fairfax (cf. above) was listed among those in Bow Lane, presumably because it had direct access to the lane by a passage. The 3 houses preceding Fairfax's in the 1666 list were probably also parts of 23A on or near the Bow Lane frontage. They were: a house of 7 hearths occupied by Morgan Dandy, victualler; a house of 4 hearths occupied by William Ball (cf. above); and a house of 6 hearths occupied by Nicholas Barrett. In 1666 23A thus appears to have contained 8 houses in all. (fn. 30)
After the Great Fire the E. end of 23A appears to have been rebuilt at the expense of John Beresford, citizen and apothecary, who was a tenant of Isaac Vivian. Three foundations in Well Yard were surveyed for Beresford in 1669, and the accompanying plan seems to show the whole of 23A in outline. Another foundation was surveyed for Beresford in 1670, on the S. side of Well Yard. In 1674 Vivian and his wife Mary sold to Beresford for £330 a newly-built messuage in Well Yard then occupied by Edward Goodwin, merchant, and occupying part of a toft of ground belonging to Vivian, together with another newly-built messuage there occupied by George Smalwood, clerk, and extending in part over the gateway on the E. side of Well Yard. Smalwood may have lived on the same site in 1666 before the Fire, when his house in George Yard had 6 hearths. In 1675 Beresford and his wife Mary assigned these properties to their future son-in-law, James Gurdon of Inner Temple, as part of their daughter Mary's marriage settlement. (fn. 31)
The remaining part of 23A seems in 1668-70 to have been in the possession of John Tanner, citizen and vintner. The house on the Bow Lane frontage was rebuilt for Morgan Dendey, probably Tanner's tenant, for whom a foundation was surveyed in 1668. The central part of the property appears to have been rebuilt as a group of small dwellings to which access was probably to be obtained by a passage on the S. side of Dendy's house, which probably occupied the site of the earlier entry leading to the great messuage, and by the alley on the N. then known as George Yard and now represented by the western part of Well Court. Dendy probably lived in this house and in 1669-70, when he died, he was described as citizen and merchant tailor. Tanner died in 1673 and left his 20 messuages in Bow Lane and George Yard, or elsewhere in the parish of St. Mary le Bow, to his wife Anne for life, with remainder to his daughters Anne, Elizabeth, and Rebecca and their heirs equally. In 1673 Rebecca and her husband James Lyell of London, merchant, conveyed her interest to trustees to hold to the use of the donors for their lives and then to the use of James's right heirs. (fn. 32)
Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1676 shows 3 houses on the N., S., and W. sides of Well Yard which are probably to be identified with those built for Beresford. The remaining part of the site of 23A, which is not accurately represented in terms of its true shape, appears to be occupied by 5 smaller houses, including that on the site of the foundation surveyed for Dendey.
In 1525 this consisted of two tenements united into one principal tenement belonging to Elsing Spital and formerly held by Thomas Hynde, citizen and mercer, and now held by William Lok, citizen and mercer. Elsing Spital let this tenement with its shops, cellars, and solars, bounded by 23D, 24, and 33 on the N., by 23A and 23C on the S., and by 145/1B on the E., to Lok for a term of 30 years at £6. 13s. 4d. rent. The landlords were to repair the property and reserved to themselves (presumably for the use of another tenant) a part of the cellar beneath part of the tenement near Bow Lane. Lock continued to hold the tenement, and in 1537, when he was described as one of the gentlemen ushers of the chamber dwelling there, obtained a grant of the tenement from the Crown, which reserved a rent of 13s. 4d. (fn. 33)
Lock also acquired 24 and 27 to the N. He was also said to reside in 27, but the principal part of his residence appears to have been 23B. In 1550, when he died, a part of his capital messuage worth £4 yearly was held by John Walker, tailor. Walker's messuage was probably part of 23B, and by his will, drawn up in 1549, Lock left Walker's messuage with other properties to his son Michael Lock for life with remainder to one of his other sons, Thomas Lock. William Lock left his capital messuage or dwelling house in Bow Lane, presumably representing the greater part of 23B, together with 27 and 28, to his sons Thomas, Matthew, John, Henry, and Michael Lock. William Lock's intention was that his sons, or some of them, should continue to dwell and trade in these properties. Both Walker's messuage and the capital messuage were held by knight service and the latter was worth £4 a year. The capital messuage is not mentioned in the inquisition of 1561 which was carried out after the death, in 1558, of Thomas Lock's son William Lock. It was probably at that time in the possession of Henry and Michael Lock, William's only surviving sons. (fn. 34)
In 1573 this capital messuage (23B) was probably inhabited by Thomas Starkey, citizen and skinner, who had a house in Bow Lane and was presumably a tenant of Henry and/or Michael Lock. By 1599 the property was owned by Matthew Lock, esquire, of Merton, Surrey, who was probably identical with the Matthew Lock, son of Thomas Lock, who had been aged 9 in 1561. In 1599 Matthew Lock and his wife Margaret granted the capital messuage at farm for a term of 21 years to Nicholas Russell, citizen and merchant tailor, in return for a rent of £33 and a down payment of £266. 13s. 4d. The messuage was leased with all its warehouses, shops, cellars, solars, chambers, rooms, houses, edifices, entries, void grounds, and easements, and had previously been held by Thomas Starkey, now dead, and more recently by Henry Parvishe, citizen and haberdasher, who had died in 1592-3. Parts of the messuage had recently been held by other tenants, and the grant also included two rooms over one another lately held by Peter Baker. These rooms were over a warehouse now forming part of the capital messuage. Below the warehouse was a cellar, also included in the grant, which Henry Heley, joiner, had lately held. Peter Baker had held 23D by a lease which terminated in 1585 and it is probable that the cellar and warehouse, with chambers above represented 23D, which seems to have been described in very similar terms in 1584, and that between 1585 and his death in 1592 Baker occupied only the two chambers in the property. This seems the most likely interpretation, but it is also possible that the cellar, warehouse, and chambers were part of 23B. A schedule of fixtures forming part of the lease of 1599 mentions the following parts of the capital messuage: a hall, a parlour, a buttery, a 'matted chamber' which had a window towards the 'street gate', a kitchen, and a yard where there was a glass frame lighting the stairs rising from the hall to the chambers. (fn. 35) The yard was probably that known by 1628 (cf. below) as George Yard and now represented by the western part of Well Court.
By 1618 the former capital messuage had been divided into several separate parts occupied by Nicholas Elton and others. In that year the part of the property adjoining 23D on its E. side and 24 on its S. side was probably the tenement occupied by Aminadas Cowper, tailor, and John Bunbury, gentleman. (fn. 36) Bunbury's property, however, may have included the S. part of 32 (q.v.).
By 1637 23B had passed to Matthew Lock's son, Thomas Lock of Merton (Surrey), esquire, who in that year with his wife Jane sold the property for £1083 to Simon Hammond, citizen and cook. The house was said to have been held in whole or in part by Nicholas Elton, citizen and merchant tailor, and now consisted of 5 messuages then or lately held by Thomas Smith, John Warton, Henry Holland, Robert Rudd, and Mary Colly. Smith, Warton, and Rudd inhabited houses here in 1638, worth £16, £10, and £8 a year, respectively. The occupants of the other 2 parts of 23B in 1638 were Mr. Hiller and Mr. Sturdey, with houses worth £12 and £8 a year, respectively. The total valuation for 23B in 1638 was thus £54 p.a. The 5 messuages in the grant of 1637 were bounded on the N. by a passage leading out of Bow Lane and by a tenement occupied by Simon Leeson (? part of 23C); on the S. by tenements occupied by ... Vines, widow, (part of 23C, see below) and ...Legard, merchant, (probably the Mr. Legay who inhabited part of 23A in 1638; cf. above) and by an alley leading into Well Yard; and on the E. by a tenement occupied by John Parker, merchant (probably 145/1). The conveyance was accomplished by means of a royal licence to alienate, an indenture of bargain and sale, an acquittance for the receipt of the money, a quitclaim enrolled in Husting, and an indenture with warranty enrolled in Husting. In 1638 William Meares and John Meares recovered possession of the messuages by writ of right in Husting against Simon Hammond: Thomas Lock and then John Wharton, citizen and draper, were vouched to warrant. (fn. 37) William and John Meares presumably then conveyed the messuages to Hammond, and the purpose of this transaction was perhaps to eliminate any entail created by the will of William Lock in 1550 or by that of his son Thomas in 1554.
John Wharton, citizen and draper, may have been wrongly described, for the John Warton who held part of 23B was presumably identical with the John Warton, citizen and cordwainer, who died in November 1639. This John Warton had probably occupied his house in 1628, when Andrew Wells (d. 1628-9) was dwelling with William Leavens at 'Mr. Warton's house' in George Yard in Bow Lane. By the time of Warton's death his house had been divided into 2 tenements which he held on lease from Thomas Lock; Warton left the remaining term of his lease to the Cordwainers' Company, which was to pay annuities to his son John Warton and to other relatives and dependants. The company probably still held the property under this lease in 1652 when its clerk was ordered to pay a sum of money out of the rents in George Yard. (fn. 38)
By his will, dated 1651 and proved in 1653, Hammond left certain messuages in St. Mary le Bow parish which he had purchased from Thomas Lock to his 5 children Edmund, Rebecca, Katharine, Martha, and Jane, who were to pay an annuity of £10 for 60 years to Hammond's daughter Mary, wife of John Bullock, butcher. Hammond's widow Martha successfully asserted her right of dower in the messuages and was in possession of the property at the time of the Great Fire (see below). The property bequeathed by Hammond consisted of a group of messuages 'commonly called the George Yard' held by 7 tenants (23B), a tenement towards the street held by Simon Leeson, citizen and barber surgeon (probably part of 24E), a tenement where Hammond himself lived (probably part of 24E and 25-6), and a shop held by Richard Russell (probably part of 24E and 25-6). The 7 tenants in George Yard were: John Waldoe, clothworker; Daniel Trippy, a Frenchman; Widow Rudd, who had presumably succeeded Robert Rudd, tenant in 1637-8; John Sturdy, who in 1638 had occupied a house here valued at £8 a year and died in 1658; Thomas Mathews; Thomas Littlehales, who by 1666 had been succeeded by Mary Littlehales, a widow and victualler occupying a house of 7 hearths; and Francis Yates. The Hearth Tax return of 1666 lists 8 houses in George Yard although only 5 of these appear in the list of houses destroyed by the Great Fire. One of the 8 houses, inhabited by George Smallwood, was probably part of 23A; the other 7 were probably all part of 23B and their occupants were listed as follows: Henry Wells, plasterer (3 hearths); Benjamin Hinshman (2 hearths); John Hillman, tailor (5 hearths); Mary Littlehales (7 hearths); Elizabeth Knight, widow (5 hearths); an empty house (4 hearths); William Thomas, hosier (4 hearths). Of these houses, only those of Wells, Hillman, Littlehales, Knight, and Thomas were listed as having been destroyed by the Fire; the other tenants may have occupied parts of these 5 houses. (fn. 39)
Mrs. Martha Hammond was in possession of 23B at the time of the Great Fire. She is not named as being responsible for any of the foundations which were surveyed on the site fo 23B, but is named as a neighbouring owner in connection with several nearby foundations, and the gateway leading out of Bow Lane at the W. end of the modern Well Court was said to lead to her property. Well Court itself, then known as George Yard or George Alley, was also said to belong to her. Surveys survive of two of the foundations laid out on the site. One concerns an L-shaped structure at the N.E. corner of the property on the N. and E. sides of the modern Well Court. The foundation was surveyed in 1669 for John Ince and ... Harice. They were probably tenants of Mrs. Hammond, who is only named, however, as the owner of the property to the S. and W. In 1670 the adjoining foundation to the W., bounded on its S. side by George Yard, was surveyed for William Shambrooke, who was presumably Mrs. Hammond's tenant. The survey of 23A in 1669 (cf. above) records 2 structures belonging to Mrs. Hammond on the S. side of George Yard at its E. end of which the more westerly had a vault beneath it. This confirms that 23B lay on both the N. and the S. sides of George Yard, which thus appears originally to have served that property alone. (fn. 40)
In 1525 John Roos, barber-surgeon, held this tenement from Elsing Spital. In one version of an account for 1535-6 Henry Dames was said to have paid the rent of £1. 6s. 8d. for this tenement which was in the tenure of Henry Adams. In another version Henry Dames was said to be the farmer of this tenement, in which he lived. There was probably a confusion here and Dames was probably identical with Henry Adams, barber-surgeon, who held the property in 1537-8. In 1537 the Crown granted the tenement, with 23A and other former properties of Elsing Spital to William Smyth. In 1538 Smyth obtained a royal licence to alienate the tenement to William Lock, citizen and mercer, to whom he and his wife Colicia quitclaimed in the same year. In this quitclaim 23C was described as a tenement with a shop, cellar(s), and solar(s) between Lock's messuage on the E. and N. (23B and D) and the tenement held by Walter Campyon to the S. (part of 23A). (fn. 41) The Henry Adams, fuller or clothworker, who held a part of 23A between 1558 and 1568 was presumably related to the Henry Adams who held 23C in 1537-8.
In 1550 23C was probably the house inhabited by Thomas Bren which William Lock bequeathed to his son Michael Lock for life with remainder to William's son Thomas Lock. The house was worth £3. 17s. 4d. a year clear. In 1561 Thomas Lock's heir was his son Matthew, then aged 9. In 1598 Matthew Lock of Merton (Surrey), esquire, and his wife Margaret granted the property at farm to William Powell, citizen and merchant tailor, at £8 rent and for a term of 25 years from the death of Matthew's uncle, Michael Lock, citizen and mercer. The tenant was to be responsible for repairs. The property now consisted of 2 messuages with shops, cellars, solars, chambers, and rooms. The more northerly messuage, called the Rainbow, had been occupied by Francis Gibson and was now occupied by William Powell, who died in 1599. The more southerly messuge was occupied by James Benney, citizen and wax chandler. Benney's widow was probably the Widow Benny who in 1638 paid tithe for a house here worth £10 a year. The N. part of 23C in 1637 was occupied by ... Vines, widow (probably Frances, widow of Nicholas Vynar, cf. below) and in 1638 appears to have been a house worth £14 a year inhabited by Mr. Radford. (fn. 42)
It seems possible from a description of 23D in 1618 (see under 24) that the N. part of 23C incorporated a gatehouse or gateway at the W. end of the entry now known as Well Court and included a shop and other buildings on the N. side of the entry which were intermixed with 23D. If this was the case, the N. part of 23C was held in 1618 by Thomas Munck, and in 1628-30 by Simon Leeson.
The freehold interest in the 2 messuages descended from Matthew Lock to Thomas Lock of Merton and his wife Jane, who in 1623 sold them to Robert Lock, gentleman, of London, to hold to himself and his heirs. Robert Lock died, and in 1638 his son Matthew Lock, citizen and scrivener, and Robert's widow Elizabeth leased the messuages to George Warren and John Pigeon, citizens and drapers, for 21 years from 1641 at a total rent of £35, £11. 13s. 4d. of which was to be paid to Elizabeth while she lived. Matthew died in 1647, leaving the messuages, charged with annuities of £6 to his sister Mary and £4 to Elizabeth Worth, spinster, to his mother for life, with remainder to his brother Robert Lock, citizen and clothworker, in tail, and thence in tail to his sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Matthew's sister Elizabeth had married Edward Mason, citizen and merchant tailor, who purchased the £4 annuity from Elizabeth Worth. Matthew owed Mason the sum of £219 as surety for his brother Robert, who was himself indebted to Mason for £40. 10s. In 1647 Elizabeth Lock, widow, her son Robert Lock, her daughter Mary, and Mary's husband, Hugh Justice of London, gentleman, sold the messuages to Edward Mason's servant, George Bond, who was to convey them to Mason and his wife Elizabeth. In return, Mason discharged the debts and agreed to pay the annuity of £6 to Mary Justice and a further annuity of £15 to Elizabeth Lock for life. The £35 rent due under the lease of 1638 was now to be received by George Bond. (fn. 43)
The indenture concerning the sale in 1647 described the two messuages in great detail (for a reconstruction, see Fig. 10). The N. messuage, now known as the Horseshoe, had been occupied by Nicholas Vynar, 'bodiemaker', and was now occupied by Frances Vynar, widow. The house contained 5 storeys and a garret above ground, with cellars below. One cellar was next to the street and behind it was another cellar formerly occupied by Thomas Smith, gentleman, (probably also tenant of part of 23B, see above) and opening into the entry (now Well Court) leading from Bow Lane. On the ground floor was a shop over the cellar next to the street and a kitchen over the cellar behind. On the first floor over the shop was a hall with an addition of about 3 ft. 6 in. (1.07 m.) at its N. end (perhaps projecting over the entry) and a buttery at its S. end; over the kitchen was a warehouse with a cupboard in the wall of the stairs leading up out of it. On the second floor were a chamber and counting- house over the hall and kitchen, and a chamber and a privy ('house of office') over the warehouse. On the third floor was a chamber opening on to the leads next to the street with two chambers adjoining at the rear. On the fourth floor were two garrets over the two last-mentioned chambers. In an addition the house included a building erected for the deceased former tenant, William Powell, over the rear part of the entry out of Bow Lane. This comprised a counting-house, which was presumably at first floor level next to the warehouse, a little chamber over it, another chamber over that, and a small garret or loft over that.
The S. messuage in 1647 had been occupied by James Bryuny, citizen and waxchandler, and was now occupied by Winifred Bryuny, his widow, who as Widow Benny was probably dwelling here in 1638 (cf. above). This house was smaller than the other and comprised four stories only. There was a cellar with a shop over it and an entry next to the shop. To the rear of the shop were a kitchen and a privy. On the first floor were a hall and buttery over the kitchen and privy, with a chamber over the shop. On the second floor were a chamber over the hall and buttery with a garret adjoining it. The garret was presumably next to the street.
In 1666, on the eve of the Great Fire, 23C probably consisted of a house of 5 hearths occupied by Susanna Oliver, widow, (probably the N. part of the property), a house of 4 hearths which was empty but had recently been occupied by Walter Rogers, deceased, and a house of 2 hearths occupied by Edward Baines, boddice-maker. The last 2 of these houses were probably contained within a single structure. (fn. 44)
After the Great Fire Edward Mason undertook the rebuilding of 23C and the survey of the 2 foundations set out for him in 1668 records the S. boundary of the property. The E. boundary of the yard behind the new houses is represented in the survey of the foundations to the E. (23A). The N. foundation adjoined the S. side of Well Court. (fn. 45)
In 1525 this was a tenement of Elsing Spital held by William Gresham, mercer. In 1535-6 Gresham held the tenement for £2 rent, probably under an indenture of lease, but this was not certain. Gresham still held in 1538, when the Crown granted a lease of the tenement to John Edwardes, citizen and grocer, for a term of 21 years at £2 rent, the tenant to repair. Edwards also took a lease of the S. part of 24 (probably 24A and B), which adjoined the N. side of 23D. In 1540 the Crown granted these two tenements and other properties in the neighbourhood to William Lock, mercer. (fn. 46) The two tenements came to form a single house, for the later history of which, see 24.